Why the leaf logo?
There is a wonderful connection between nature, organisations, quality and systems thinking.
An organisation - be it a business, educational establishment or public service - can be likened to a living natural organism. Both consist of a set of specialised but interdependent component parts that must work together to achieve the survival and aims of the whole. Both have to interact with their environments, and to prosper, must have mechanisms which allow them to react and adapt to the changes and shocks that their environments can deliver. Sometimes different types of organisms live in mutual symbiotic relationships where each brings benefits to the other.
The human body is a perfect natural example to consider. It's not difficult to visualise all the different systems and sub-systems inside your body - heart, lungs, liver, bones, brain - and how each one is a specialised component performing its function as a vital part of the whole. Each one has to co-ordinate and stay in balance with the others by making use of a monitoring and control system for the good of the entire body. The body must co-ordinate all of its internal parts whilst equally recognising changes in its environment and adapting accordingly.
Organisations have to do the same. Quality management is all about managing the sum of your internal parts for the good of the whole and those whom you are trying to serve - for your students, learners, customers, clients, recipients of whatever it is that you do. My favourite defintion of quality management is reflecting on 'the way we do things around here'. It is a learning process which provides for all the rowers in the canoe to paddle together whilst equally giving each one the professional discretion to carry out their own personal function.
Most people today would recognise that their external environment seems to be in constant, turbulent change. So the organisations that we work in, and the way that we work, must continually recognise, interpret and adapt to 'what is going on out there'. This is also a process of learning - organisational and personal learning which allows us to improve what we are doing individually and together.